Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
Based on Haida artist Robert Davidson's own childhood experiences, this beautiful story highlights learning through observation, as well as the role of Elders in sharing knowledge and mentorship.
Learning to carve is a lifelong journey. With the help of his father and grandfather, a boy on Haida Gwaii practises to become a skillful carver. As he carefully works on a new piece, he remembers a trip to Slatechuck Mountain to gather the argillite, as well as his father’s words about the importance of looking back to help us find our way.
Written by the creators of Potlatch as Pedagogy, this book brings the Sk'ad'a Principles to life through the art of Janine Gibbons.
About the authors
Sara Florence Davidson (she/her/hers) is a Haida/Settler Assistant Professor in Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Previously, she was an educator working with adolescents in the K-12 system in British Columbia and Yukon Territory. Sara is the co-author of Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning through Ceremony, which she wrote with her father, and Magical Beings of Haida Gwaii, which she wrote with her stepmother, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson.
When she is not reading or writing, Sara can be found walking with her dog, drinking tea, or listening to stories and learning something new.
Robert Davidson is a carver, sculptor, painter, printmaker and jeweller, whose work is in private and public collections internationally. He is also a student of the Haida language, culture and history, and performs Haida songs and dances as a member of the Rainbow Creek Dancers. Two books have been published on his work, Robert Davidson, Haida Printmaker by Hilary Stewart and Robert Davidson: Eagle of the Dawn edited by Ian M. Thom, in conjunction with a major retrospective of his work at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Janine Gibbons, a Haida Raven of the Double-Fin Killer Whale Clan, Brown Bear House, is a multi-disciplinary artist and award-winning illustrator. Janine’s works are inspired by the waters and lands of the Pacific Northwest, and their myriad colours, energies, and languages. Janine graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Janine has illustrated four books in the Sealaska Heritage’s Baby Raven Reads series, including Raven Makes the Aleutians, an AIYLA Honor Book, and most recently Nang Jáadaa Sg̱áana ‘Láanaa aa Isdáayaan (The Woman Carried Away by Killer Whales), which is entirely in the Haida language Xaad Kíl.
A quiet, beautiful meditation on how traditions are kept alive by passing them down from one generation to the next, by remembering the ways things were so we can more clearly see the way things can be. Shaped by youth, under the watchful guidance of Elders, like etchings in argillite.
David A. Robertson